Sorry for the lack of post last night. I couldn’t get the internet to work out. So, here is the report from yesterday. I am off to the Mount of Olives in just a few minutes!
After packing this morning we said goodbye to the Golden Tulip Hotel in Tiberias and to the Sea of Galilee. We made our way up to Mount Tabor, one of the two traditional sites of Jesus’ transfiguration. All I can say is that if he wasn’t transfigured here he should have been. The modern monastery sits among the ruins of previous monasteries dating back to the 4th century. We gathered outside for the reading of the story, but before he began a reader told a beautiful story about his father (which is his story, so I won’t publish it). It set the mood for our time there. We sang to hear the beautiful acoustics and saw through the floor the rock that Jesus is believed to have been transfigured.
The next two main stops were archaeological. The first, Megiddo, was much more impressive as the excavator have found the gates made by the Israelite Kings Solomon and Ahab. For some reason, I haven’t given much thought to Old Testament sites as I have the new. Whilst this was not a place of worship, knowing that we were walking where King Solomon had over 3000 year ago made it hit home the rich tradition of this country. The second site was the Roman city of Beth Sean. We did not spend much time here, but they had uncovered a beautiful amphitheatre.
Then we made our way down south, making it through the Palestinian controlled area of the West Bank. Nothing unusual happened, so we made it through. Driving south took us toward the desert, and the actual site of Jesus’ baptism (as opposed to the Jordan River baptism site we went to yesterday). This was an actual desert. And it was HOT! Terribly hot and dry. How he managed 40 days… it’s amazing to even think about. I barely made it the half-hour I stood outside.
We did make a stop at an oasis, where April got to ride a camel. The guy running the camel place offered me 35 camels for April. Since April is priceless, I didn’t take him up on it. And we got to see our guide give the same camel a drink of coke. That was funny watching that camel down a coke on his own. After he finished, he would just spit the bottle out, without a care about recycling.
When we left the ‘oasis’, we were finally heading toward Jerusalem. I had no idea that it would affect me as I saw that golden dome for the first time. I knew I was really here, and it was just breathtaking, knowing I was in the same city that had seen so much, not least the death and resurrection of Jesus.
So, good night from Jerusalem. Tomorrow we got to the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane. Then on to Bethlehem.